A dejected Lamb explains his elimination

American poker standout Ben Lamb decided to come out aggressively in the first few hands of play at the World Series of Poker’s Main Event, thinking he could slice into Germany’s Pius Hienz’ nearly 2-to-1 chip lead.

In four hands, or roughly 15 minutes, however, Lamb burned through 55.4 million in chips and hit the rail in third place, winning $4,021,138.

The separation in payouts, more than $8.715 million for first and $5.433 million for second, were the reason for the aggressive play.

“I was trying to give myself the best place I could in the tournament,” a dejected Lamb said as he walked through the back halls of the Rio’s Penn & Teller Theater toward the lobby. “There was about $1.3 million between second and third place and about $3 million between first and second.”

Lamb said his all in move on the first hand, with a king-jack off suit, seemed like the correct read. He also thought he would pair the board for the win, especially since the Czech Republic’s Martin Staszko showed a pair of 7s.

“I thought I had a decent hand, but it obviously wasn’t good enough,” Lamb said.

He was surprised that Staszko, the chip leader when the final table of nine began on Sunday, pulled three pocket pairs in the first four hands.

“He was a lot more aggressive than I expected,” Lamb said.